A new study of 5,000 American men aged 18 to 95 finds that men are the happiest when they are satisfied at work. The research was conducted by Dr. John Barry, honorary lecturer at University College London and co-founder of the Male Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society.
The study centred on the qualities that make men feel emotionally, physically, and mentally balanced. Participants’ happiness, confidence, optimism, and other states of mind were measured using a Positive Mindset Index (PMI). Those surveyed also ranked their satisfaction in areas such as career, work/life balance, relationships, money, physicality and mental health.
Researchers determined that the average man is rather happy. It’s not necessary to have the perfect body or a celebrity lifestyle to feel good. The most satisfied man is over 50, married, is content with his job and has a good income.
“The strongest predictor of a positive mindset in men – by far – is satisfying employment,” according to the report. “Hard work is the cornerstone of a contented man that all else is built upon.”
Ninety-six percent of those with top job satisfaction had normal or better levels of mental positivity versus 49 percent of those who were least satisfied with their jobs. Researchers conclude men can improve their mindset by being gainfully employed.
Job satisfaction isn’t chiefly about money—it’s about contributing to a company’s success.
“Job satisfaction and the dignity of labour fulfills men’s desire to provide and protect,” the researchers wrote. “At the same time as noting that job satisfaction improves happiness, we should note the reverse: joblessness erodes the effectiveness of every significant protective factor and makes it harder for men to sustain a healthy, happy lifestyle.”
Following satisfying employment, the strongest predictors of a positive mindset in men are overall health, good grooming, healthy eating, living longer, and exercise.
Men are also more concerned with their mental health than their physical health while understanding that the two are linked. Older men are particularly aware of the importance of balancing the mind, body and soul.
Income is also a happiness factor, especially when it comes to having the ability to support one’s family. Other indicators of positive mental health are connecting with others through sports and by advising and listening to friends.
When asked what they aspire to be, the participants listed honesty, reliability, dependability, being respectful of others and loyalty as the top traits. On the bottom of the list was having the perfect body, demonstrating that men are happier when they put the needs of others above themselves.
The study found that married men are more content than single men, and those over age 50 are the most likely to have a positive outlook on life. Both heterosexual and homosexual men reported comparable levels of PMI, indicating that today gay men may be feeling more content than in previous generations.